Miscellany – January

Wonder who this could possibly be…

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”
– John Bright

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2016 ‘Word of the Year’

Dictionary.com  chose its 2016  ‘Word Of The Year’ soon after the  celebrations  for the New Year died down. The site  aims to  select a word which  it feels embodies a major theme  ‘resonating deeply in the cultural consciousness over the past 12 months’.

‘This year, some of the most prominent news stories have centered around fear of the ‘other.’ Fear is an adaptive part of human evolutionary history and often influences behaviors and perceptions on a subconscious level.

However, this particular year saw fear rise to the surface of cultural discourse. Because our users’ interest in this overarching theme emerges so starkly for one specific word in our trending lookup data, xenophobia is Dictionary.com’s 2016 Word of the Year.

The word xenophobia is actually relatively new, and only entered English in the late 1800s. It finds its roots in two Greek words, xénos meaning “stranger, guest,” and phóbos meaning “fear, panic.’  Read more at:  http://blog.dictionary.com/xenophobia/?param=DcomHP

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 Trumpeting  tyranny…

Just before the Presidential Inauguration,  more   concerns  about the President -elect Donald Trump. (And  this comes before the  allegations the swamp of other allegations  surrounding  him).

It’s from distinguished  US  scholar Robert  Reich who  told  Americans  early in January  that ‘ you have been warned’. He went on to list ’15 signs of  impending tyranny  under President Trump’.  He began  by saying that as tyrants  take control of democracies, they typically:

  1.  Exaggerate their mandate to govern – claiming, for example, that they won an election by a landslide even after losing the popular vote.
  2.  Repeatedly claim massive voter fraud in the absence of any evidence, in order to restrict voting in subsequent elections.
  3.  Call anyone who opposes them “enemies.”
  4.  Turn the public against journalists or media outlets that criticize them, calling them “deceitful” and “scum.”
  5.  Hold few if any press conferences, preferring to communicate with the public directly through mass rallies and unfiltered statements.
  6.  Tell the public big lies, causing them to doubt the truth and to believe fictions that support the tyrants’ goals. Read more at: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/robert-reich-15-signs-impending-tyranny-under-president-trump

* Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.

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Theresa turns  left…ish

This may come as a surprise to  our  local  Tories but  their thinking is being left in the  ideological swamp by of all people – Britain’s top Tory  – PM Theresa  May.

Calling for  a  change in the way country works she pledged in a speech  last week  that her party would  ‘ use the power of  Government to restore fairness in Britain and  spread prosperity more widely’.

The state should be a “force for good” to help working people, she argued., promising her Government  would build a  “united Britain rooted in a centre ground, protect jobs and “repair” free markets when they did not work properly. Au revoir laissez faire… Read more at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics

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Inequality issues  shared …

It’s a curious thing to  research  inequality which some attribute partly to  globalization – and then  to find how global  the issue,  is courtesy of the Internet.  For example: http://inequalityquestion.com/ asks questions of readers  and tells them   that once a month it will be discussed not just in Auckland or  some other Kiwi City – but in  Uganda as well as the UK…

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.